Commercial Litigation

David A. Axelrod & Associates rescued a regional industrial demolition company by assisting the company in recovering $1.3 million from the owner of a large chemical plant the company had demolished in the Chicago area.  Many of the issues involved were unique to the demolition industry, an area in which the firm has substantial experience.

In the demolition business, most or all of the compensation paid to the demolition company is in value of the scrap materials left behind after demolition is complete.  Equipment, metals and other industrial items retain significant value on the scrap market.  Instead of being paid on a money basis, demolition companies, like our client, take ownership of the scrap and then sell it for profit.  In this case, our client discovered that the owner of the chemical plant had taken from the demolition site a significant part of the valuable salvage materials that had been legally transferred to our client as its sole compensation for the job.  As a result, the company was suffering a large financial loss.

In addition, the owner of the demolished plant had imposed changes in the job that resulted in costly delays.  Although our client was incurring significant equipment and labor costs, the owner continued to prevent our client from proceeding with the demolition, and then refused to compensate our client for its losses as a result.  The owner of the demolished plant denied that it had taken any scrap that it was not entitled to and blamed our client for the delays in the project.

When David A. Axelrod & Associates was retained, the demolition company had been placed into a precarious financial situation due to delays and the confiscation of the scrap materials.  Further, the contract between the parties set forth a detailed process of dispute resolution ultimately requiring the use of private, binding arbitration.  Finally, the two claims required separate and extensive factual proof, and involved rarely-addressed legal issues.  All this meant that our client’s potential recovery had to be measured at all times against what were certain to be high costs of litigation.

As an important initial step, David A. Axelrod & Associates persuaded the plant owner’s counsel to accept our client’s choice of an especially skilled former judge as the arbitrator.  The firm knew from experience that this judge would be fair, and would take the time to master the unusual legal and factual issues.  Once the arbitration commenced, the firm repeatedly turned away the owner’s attempt to shield the evidence our client needed to support its case.  Ultimately, our client was able to put together a damages case that the arbitrator acknowledged was convincing.

As the parties approached the two-week arbitration hearing, the owner proposed mediating first some, then all, of the issues between the parties.  David A. Axelrod & Associates negotiated a settlement in excess of $1 million shortly following the second mediation session.

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If you are in need of experienced, dedicated, and tenacious trial representation, call David A. Axelrod & Associates today at 312-782-4600 for your free consultation.

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